Texte zur Kunst no. 101 is dedicated to Polarities – “a term we associate with what’s unfolding around us right now: ideological polarization, from Pegida to Donald Trump.” With the elections in three German states on March 13 bringing victories for the AfD (the German equivalent of the Front National or Geert Wilders’s PVV, with ties to the racist Pegida movement), this issue is certainly timely.
While my short essay on the German Kulturgutschutzgesetz, “National Customs,” is not part this thematic section, it connects rather well. Intriguingly, the bridge between the Polarities section and my text is a picture sequence by Gerhard Richter, consisting of photos of Ulrike Meinhof. Richter’s intervention in the Kulturgutschutzgesetz debate gets a slightly curt mention in my text, but I have a longstanding interest in his work – which was in fact a key factor in stimulating me to study art history in the first place -, and I could not be more pleased with this constellation.
“National Customs” was originally posted online in English; the print version, which is in German, has been updated in one or two passages, and the online version has now been adjusted as well.